Perhaps, one day, we will move towards real, trusted 3rd party verification by a team of experts who classify a watch and comment on its originality. It’s hard, though, with watches because, unlike coins, baseball card, comic books or autographs, few will want to seal their watch in some sort of encapsulated block to prevent tampering. Plus, grading a watch might require “control” samples for comparison. And what of the aberrations, the transitionals and those watches that are truly 1 of 1? You also have the concern about who will do the authenticating and their trustworthiness. My experience in many hobbies suggests that serious scrutiny would need to be shown to ensure impartiality. Maybe we will get there within the vintage watch market and one would suggest that the current state of auctions, with many questionable pieces hitting the block; we need something trustworthy on the outside.
In summary, I get it that there or those collectors who only buy “perfect” pieces. It’s a discipline within the vintage watch market that I respect because it takes time to find the right piece. Do I think that every watch in the collection of these folks is truly what it’s purported to be? No, but if the owner is happy and the market accepts the story when it becomes time to sell, then so be it. For me, I care less about this versus finding a watch that appeals to my senses of condition, one that exhibits so-called “honest wear”, full disclosure and something that I feel good about wearing. Anything that has to sit in a safe for fear of putting “miles” on it just isn’t up my alley. But, again, I get it that there are those who enjoy this type of collecting.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I buy a lot less than I used to. It’s tougher to find good pieces that I can afford, but don’t let my easing off slow you down. There’s still plenty of good stuff out there within the vintage watch market in great condition and maybe even in a different shade of metal. Today, you only require more patience and, likely, deeper pockets.